Meringues. Before tonight I had never made meringues. When I confessed this to Leigh he gave me a look of mixed horror and disbelief. But it's true. They've always held a slight edge of terror for me - I always think of meringues as being very easy to foul up and rather delicate, and those who know me know that I'm certainly not known for my elegance and daintiness, especially in the kitchen. Clodhopper is nearer the mark!
Anyway these meringues are destined to be broken up for ice cream so if they're a disaster it doesn't matter. Here's a picture of them heading for the oven and I'll post another photo when they're out (yes they are pink).
I used Delia Smith's recipe from How to Cook Book 1. Interestingly she suggests starting to whisk the egg whites on a slow speed for a couple of minutes until foamy, then medium speed for another minute before finishing them off to stiff peak stage on fast speed. She doesn't quite explain why this works but does say that the key is knowing when to stop and that to start with all you can do is follow tried and tested guidelines. So I'm following her to the letter..well, not quite. She prefers a hand electric whisk as she can feel how the egg whites are going - and I used our free-standing Kitchen Aid. If it's a fail I shall know why!
Also, Delia suggests cooking the meringues for half an hour then leaving them to dry out in the oven until the oven is completely cold. Which is what's happening at the moment. I'm quite nervous!